just-auto global news
August 7, 2018
By Graeme Roberts
To ensure a sustainable raw material supply chain, Daimler has joined associations, organizations and competitors in a number of initiatives.
The goals are: certifiable standards, safe origins and transparency in the procurement of high-risk raw materials and a tangible improvement in the working and living conditions of people locally.
Daimler said it is expanding its broad commitment to initiatives and is actively promoting greater transparency in global raw material supply chains.
Joining further initiatives complements the automaker’s already existing activities for responsible procurement of raw materials and increases their impact. The focus of the initiatives is on the procurement of cobalt, steel and aluminum. A future step on the road to sustainable raw material procurement will be the complete transparency of the supply chain for battery cell production. Battery cells contain cobalt as well as lithium, nickel, copper and manganese.
“The expansion of electro mobility places new demands on the automotive industry and especially on purchasing. We are aware of our responsibility in the procurement of raw materials and are pooling our strengths in these initiatives through cooperation with other business enterprises,” said Sabine Angermann, head of purchasing and supplier quality for raw materials and strategy at Mercedes-Benz Cars.
The company has identified around 50 potentially high-risk raw materials and wants to make the supply chains transparent and to take risk-based, target-oriented measures successively.
“We are committed to certifiable standards to create and implement a common understanding of sustainability throughout the supply chain,” said Angermann.
Daimler has joined the Responsible Cobalt Initiative and works together with other companies and NGOs, government representatives, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to develop measures aimed at combating social and ecological risks along the entire cobalt supply chain. The aim is especially to exclude the risk of child labor, and increase transparency and governance.
To prevent the infiltration of material that might contribute to conflict, the company is also actively involved in the Responsible Minerals Initiative. RMI uses a self-developed, independent validation scheme for refineries and smelters to demonstrate that they have systems in place to ensure the responsible sourcing of minerals. In addition to this, the Responsible Minerals Initiative provides companies with a wealth of tools and information sources for responsible procurement of so-called conflict materials. In this way, the sustainable procurement of conflict minerals is promoted and more transparency is created in the supply chain.
Aluminum is playing an increasingly important role as a lightweight design material for electric cars as it is much lighter than steel. Daimler has also joined the non-profit Aluminum Stewardship Initiative to support the implementation of an independent certification scheme for the entire aluminum added value chain. The aim is to intensify dialogue with all stakeholders in the aluminum supply chain to achieve continually measurable improvements in the areas of social affairs, the environment and responsible business management—from aluminum production and usage to recycling.
Steel is the most commonly used material in cars and also represents the world’s largest raw material industry. Steel production is highly energy intensive and therefore accounts for a large share of the CO2 emissions in the production phase. The Responsible Steel Initiative is pursuing greater transparency in the supply chain, from mines to steel product, and by developing a certification scheme will provide with new levels of reassurance against social and environmental standards. It also advocates the development and understanding of CO2; levels in production.
Daimler AG is lead partner of the industry initiative Drive Sustainability, a European Automotive-Workgroup coordinated by the CSR Europe corporate network which promotes measures to improve sustainability in supply chains. An important tool developed there is a uniform sustainability questionnaire. In addition, joint training and workshops are offered for suppliers to help them improve their sustainability performance.
To promote sustainability in the global supply chain, Daimler has been involved in national and international industry associations for years. These include econsense, the German Association for Materials Management, Purchasing and Logistics (BME), the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) and the American Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG).
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